It's always great to hit a huge score in a poker tournament after finishing really high. Of course, due to the variance in poker, just about anybody can occasionally place high in a tournament and haul in some major cash. However, it's a lot harder to do this on a consistent basis and make long-term profits. And for those who are not consistently placing high in tourneys, it's important to evaluate some of the most important tournament strategy concepts.
The first and most basic thing to realize with MTT strategy is that you need to stick with solid plays, and let the aforementioned variance take care of the rest. This contrasts the approach some players take in that they treat every buy-in like it's their last. Unfortunately, this leads to playing overly-tight and letting the blinds eat away at your stack, rather than playing aggressively and making strong plays when the opportunity arises. Assuming you make a good read on another player and take your chance, don't worry if you bust out trying, or your stack is crippled as a result.
In regards to other general concepts, you need to focus on stack size and position when making moves, instead of only focusing on the cards. For instance, let's say that you have pockets 8's in late position with a big stack, and you're facing a 3X the big blind raise from a super-aggressive short-stacked MP player. Seeing as how you are facing a decent-sized raise with pocket 8's in your hand, you might consider folding in most situations. But since you are the bigger stack against a short-stacked player, and the other player has been extremely aggressive so far, this presents an excellent opportunity to either get the opponent all-in, or force a fold with a re-raise.
In addition to this, paying close attention to the increasing blinds is important towards being consistent in MTT's. In fact, the blinds in relation to your stack is perhaps the most critical element to playing well. When your stack falls below 10 BB's, this is the time where you really need to open up your range and be more aggressive. Along with this, you need to be willing to shove with the hands you play, and avoid limping because the stakes are too high at this point (in case a raise comes). On the other hand, with a stack of 20 BB's or more, you have the ability to sit back and wait for stronger hands/position before getting involved in hands.
One final point worth mentioning is that it takes quite a few MTT's before your reading skills and ability to define opponents' ranges come through. After you've played between 500 and 1,000 MTT's in a general range of limits, you will have a good idea as to whether or not you are a consistent MTT player. Likewise, you'll know if it's a good idea to move up in stakes based on how well you're playing.